For my doctoral project, I'm researching the history of the body, gender, and sexuality in British Colonial Punjab, through history of medicine as medical ideas, and history of gender and sexuality. Methodologically, I draw from theories of embodiment, phenomenology, and feminist and queer critical theory, along with archival historical research. My sources include Punjabi-language writings on the body, health, and domesticity, as well as British-authored records of military campaigns and administration in the Punjab. To know more about my work, you can listen to a podcast here: Sikh Archive. More broadly, I'm interested in histories of the body, gender and sexuality, personhood, and human-nonhuman relationships. My book project (in progress) was long listed for the Nan Shepherd Prize for Nature Writing in 2021. I update this link (Linktree) for new essays, articles, poems, and my other writings regularly: Nikita Azad
My PhD is funded by the Wellcome Trust Doctoral Studentship, during which, I spent one semester at Columbia University as a Visiting PhD Fellow (January-May 2023). I have completed a master's in History of Science, Medicine, and Technology at Oxford (2020) and a master's in Women's Studies at Oxford (2019) with a high distinction, both funded by the Rhodes Trust. I have a First Honours' bachelor's in English Literature, Mathematics, and Politics from Government College for Girls, Patiala, India. I have also received other academic awards from my college (Hertford) and charitable bodies for my PhD work.
I am also the author of Dakhalandazi, a Punjabi essay collection on gender-based violence in Punjab and North India, published by Autumn Art in September 2022. My work and activism on gender in India has been featured in The Guardian, BBC, and The Independent, among others. Most of my writings in Punjabi are published in the Punjabi Tribune.
“The curious case of Patnibrata men: Revisiting masculinity in Sikh and Punjabi reformist literature, c. 1925–1939,” Sikh Formations (2022)